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Aging screenwriter Felix Bonhoeffer (Hopkins) has lived his life in two states of existence: reality and his own interior world. While working on a murder mystery screenplay. Felix becomes baffled as his characters start appearing in his life, and his life starts slipping into his characters. Soon, he is thrown into a vortex where dreams, time and reality collide in an increasingly whirling slipstream.
For more about Slipstream and the Slipstream Blu-ray release, see Slipstream Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on May 21, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Lana Antonova, Stella Arroyave, Lindsay Barth, Anthony Hopkins, Christian Slater, Michael Clarke Duncan
Director: Anthony Hopkins
» See full cast & crew
Slipstream Blu-ray Review
Slip into something more comfortable, because this sucker is haywire to the extreme.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, May 21, 2013
Here's today's challenge: make sense of Slipstream in one viewing. Whew. Tough assignment. Sir Anthony Hopkins' picture -- that he wrote, directed, and in which he stars -- will require of most more than one sitting to fully process, and kudos to anyone who has it all sorted out after two. It's a classic jumbled motion picture that's quite literally all over the place in terms of content and style, a film that never settles in, never settles down, and doesn't settle for anything less than the masterfully mysterious and mind-numbing. The picture doesn't seem to try to make sense of much of anything, at least not on its surface. It's sure to confound its audience, and the question following a screening may be: "which is more confused, the film or the audience watching it?" There's simply too much that comes too fast, built on a jumbled narrative that's difficult to discern, populated by characters who are difficult to identify beyond a face, and never mind how they slip from one reality to another as the film progresses. Slipstream certainly entangles the mind, sometimes in a good way, sometimes not, and for anyone up for a little hardcore, heavy, demanding cinema viewing, it definitely fits the bill.
Rather than attempt a traditional "movie summary" paragraph, here's how Hopkins himself described the movie to the Los Angeles Times:
To say that Slipstream is all over the place would be an understatement. To accept the movie as a finished product feels, often, difficult to swallow. It's littered with odd cuts, random flashes, low-frame-count images, jerks, repeats, frame flips, a car that changes color, and the movie even, at one point, suddenly cuts away to the crew making the movie in the movie. It's visual insanity and structural chaos. On the surface it looks like a random hodgepodge of stuff, and it's so difficult to penetrate that the requisite "look below" proves difficult, not even in totality but just in getting there, in peeling away the craziness and discovering even a sliver of what it is that makes Slipstream tick beyond the disarray. The more interesting element of Slipstream may not even lie in the movie; it would be an eye-opening experience to be sure if one were able to dig deep in Writer/Director/Actor Hopkins' mind -- beyond the comfy media quotes -- and see if there's anything more coherent in there.
The problem here isn't the editing, the structure, even the story, it's the film's full-on commitment to the obtuse. There's a fine line between artistic, novel, even experimental, and this. Slipstream moves way beyond the former pieces -- with which many successful films have been molded -- and settles onto an island of obscurity and oddity all its own. Credit Hopkins for putting it together, though, for finding just the right tweak, twitch, jump, whatever for every shot. At ninety-some minutes, the film must have been an editing nightmare, and no doubt Hopkins completed it to the exactness of his vision. The film does feature a stellar name cast, most of whom, like the movie, flail all over the place. On the other hand, some of the performances are solid enough that, no matter what's happening, there's a sense of understanding at least of the moment, where they are at least on the same page as the filmmaker. The picture does offer some interesting, absorbing moments -- the extended diner sequence is really quite good in something of a Tarantino influenced haze -- that show a promise that's not fulfilled on the first viewing but that might come more clearly into focus the more frequently the picture is absorbed.
Slipstream Blu-ray, Video Quality
Slipstream's digital photography source translates very well to Blu-ray. Though it's not the slickest and most polished, it looks quite good given that the film wasn't a mega-dollar production and considering the budget nature of the release. Though it's a bit glossy looking at times, the transfer reveals very nice details both under the bright sun and inside the warmer, lower-light diner. It shows off some striking desert terrain textures, not to mention solid clothing and facial details. There's a general sharpness to the image, and though it lacks the organic nature of film, it never looks excessively smooth or unnatural. The color palette appears even and pleasing, again no matter the place or time or lighting condition or source. Nothing's too hot, nothing's too cold; it's all nicely put together from the top down. There is a hint of aliasing and a few jagged lines throughout; some background shots of the blinds at the diner in particular suffer through a minor case of the jaggies. Otherwise, black levels and flesh tones both are not overly problematic. It's not the finest in digital filmmaking on Blu-ray, but this transfer certainly impresses given its circumstances.
Slipstream Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Slipstream, a chronologically fresh movie along the cinema timeline, earns a satisfying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The presentation offers a fine general sense of depth and space. Sound placement is rather precise, and the desert exterior in particular finds a very nice realism in how the environment is recreated in sound. Basic soundtrack elements -- music, dialogue -- come through with commendable clarity and stage presence. Some fine roadway atmospherics, honking horns, and gentle background music contribute to the oftentimes lively but not excessive sound presentation. Gunshots come through adequately, with decent presence and potency, but not quite so realistic as what is normally found in the finest tracks. All told, it won't set the audio world ablaze, but there's certainly not much, if anything, to dislike about Mill Creek's sound presentation.
Slipstream Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
This Blu-ray release of Slipstream contains no supplemental content.
Slipstream Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Good luck trying to figure out the secrets -- even the basics -- of Slipstream. This is no ordinary in-and-out-of-phase, confused plot, wayward structure, experimental type of film. It's a hodgepodge of gross unevenness mixed with metaphysical and metaphorical characteristics, all wrapped up in the arms of deep Science Fiction. Maybe. That's at least one quick-and-dirty summation, though there's not really much of a right or wrong answer when it comes to what the movie is, why it is, and how it gets there. It's worth watching, but is it worth watching enough to discover its secrets? Ask that question after viewing one. Mill Creek's Blu-ray release of Slipstream features good video and audio. No extras are included. Rent it.
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